CNN host Ashleigh Banfield grilled the former Republican congressman responsible for banning gun research, saying that his work had “effectively paralyzed” the federal government from improving firearm safety.
Earlier this week, former Rep. Jay Dickey (R-AR) admitted that he had “regrets” about doing the NRA’s bidding by stripping $46 million from the CDC budget, and shuttering the National Center for Injury Prevention.
“When you were the point person for the NRA and when you spearheaded this legislation, why did you not think that the effect would be so far reaching as to effectively paralyze those who — at the CDC — wanted to do any kind of research on gun injury?” Banfield asked Dickey on Wednesday.
Dickey argued that he was “faced with the facts” that gun research was being done “just to support gun control.”
“We wanted research done for gun violence,” he insisted. “And that’s what the money was paid for. But we found out as we went along that not only was the research being done just to support gun control, but we weren’t even given access to what the collected data was. So, it was clear that we needed to do something, and to stop what was being done.”
Dickey added that he regretted not funding new research on gun violence at that time.
Banfield pressed: “I know that you now feel that opening federal funding for research would be the least objectionable move in a circumstance where we all feel like we’re just wringing our hands over and over again… But we constantly hear about the slippery slope.”
“Those who are Second Amendment protectors say any kind of move that could have any kind of limitation or create any kind of limitation on gun ownership is that slippery slope,” the frustrated CNN host continued. “What isn’t a slippery slope to day in this age where we’re dealing with kids and grownups and hundreds of deaths? What isn’t a slippery slope anymore in this fight?”
Dickey offered that gun lovers should compare new restrictions to highway regulations that have saved lives without banning cars.
“People said, ‘No we can’t [reduce head-on collisions] without eliminating cars,” the Arkansas Republican observed. “That was all done through science and through research. And we now have less deaths on our highways because of that little fence.”
“I think that is a good example of what we can do,” Dickey said. “They didn’t try to get rid of the car. They did it in spite of the car. And that is what we can do with guns.”
“We have one thing that is in common, and that is that the kids and the innocent people who are being killed deserve our attention.”
Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast Oct. 7, 2015.